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Saturday, 03 May 2014 06:24

Wonders of Iranian architecture

Wonders of Iranian architecture

Iranians have blended art and creativity with architecture and built monuments centuries ago, which are the world’s architectural wonders.
Today, architecture is considered a social art. Socialization and adaptation of buildings with the environment and society are of high importance.

Iranian architects have designed monuments that cause amazement because of their artistry and beauty after a lapse of centuries, ISNA wrote.
Architecture in Iran dates back to 7th millennium BCE.
Precise calculations, observance of scientific technicalities, high porticos and columns, and eye-catching decorations are some of the characteristics of Iranian architecture.
Iranian architecture employed various styles. The styles of Median, Parthian, Achaemenid, Seleucid and Sassanid dynasties belonged to eras before the advent of Islam, while styles of Khorasan, Razi, Isfahani and Azari pertained to post-Islam era.
Some of the emblematic Iranian monuments, which are recognized as global architectural wonders, are as follows:

Takht-e Jamshid

The architectural style of Takht-e Jamshid in the southern Fars province is one of the wonders of design and construction across the world.
It used to be the mountainous capital of Persian Empire. Greeks called it Persepolis.
Stones have been mainly used in building the Takht-e Jamshid palace with columns, statues and engravings.
The monument’s columns have remained intact in spite of the lapse of long years and climatic effects.
The columns have been set up by using melted plumb that have made the structures resistant to even earthquakes.
Using precious metals for decorating the designs and construction of stairs that people could use while riding horses are interesting aspects of this monument.
Takht-e Jamshid’s construction lasted 120 years. It was built by Iranian architects and artisans as a manifestation of the glory of Achaemenid kings.
The palace was used for hosting foreign guests and holding national ceremonies and festivals, particularly Norouz that marks the advent of the Iranian New Year.
The glorious monument caught fire after the attack of Alexander III of Macedon in 330 BCE, which destroyed books, cultural relics and the palace.
However, remnants of Takht-e Jamshid still draw millions of Iranian and foreign tourists to Fars province throughout the year.

Taq-e Kasra

Taq-e Kasra (also called Ivan-e Kasra), with the largest brick arch worldwide, is an architectural site pertaining to the Sassanid era.  It is said that Sassanid kings brought the most famous architects and used 3,000 workers to build the huge monument over 20 years.
The exterior of the palace was made of bricks and its columns and perforated stones were covered with copper plates and decorated with gold and silver.
Taq-e Kasra is currently outside Iranian borders. Its remnants are along the banks of Tigris River, which flows 37 km from Baghdad, Iraq.




Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is located in the eastern wings of Naqsh-e Jahan Square. It is considered one of the most famous mosques worldwide in terms of architecture.  
The mosque was built on the order of Safavid King Shah Abbas during 1602-19 CE. Master Mohammad Reza Isfahani was its architect.
Sheikh Lotfollah Jabal-Ameli was an eminent Safavid scholar who came to Iran from Lebanon upon the invitation of Shah Abbas. He taught methodologies of jurisprudence.
The mosque is a collection of visual arts and follows the Isfahani architectural style.  Master Alireza Tabrizi Abbasi designed the calligraphy on tiles used inside and outside the dome.
Professor Arthur Pope wrote, “It can hardly be a manmade monument. It looks faultless. The sizes and measures are appropriate, and the design is very beautiful and perfect.”


Soltanieh Dome

Iranian architects constructed Zanjan’s Soltanieh Dome as the world’s highest brick dome. It is 48.5 meters in height and its diameter is 24.4 meters.
The monument was a great achievement in Iranian-Islamic architecture. It is considered one of Islamic architectural masterpieces.
The brick dome was established on the order of Mongolian ruler named Oljaitu—also known as Soltan Mohammad Khodabandeh—during 1283-91.
Soltanieh Dome is considered a special architectural model in terms of volume, architectural style, resistance, aesthetics and decorations.
The monument manifests the Azari architectural style. At first, it was built for transferring the body of Imam Ali (AS), the first Imam of Shias, from Najaf to Soltanieh. But after the issue was settled and he was laid to rest in Najaf, the monument turned into the mausoleum of Oljaitu.
Over 3,000 workers built the monument during 10 years.
The major monument has eight doors and eight minarets. It includes an entrance area, tomb and dungeon. The dome is decorated with azure tiles.
The skylights of Soltanieh Dome are interesting for visitors. They act like a sundial. When the light shines from the opening of major dome, it marks the time for midday prayer.
The light radiating from bigger windows shows the hour, while the light from smaller windows indicates the minutes.


Iranian architectural art thrived during the Safavid era.
Due to the interest of Safavid king in architecture and splendid monuments, Isfahan hosted the best architects. Its monuments are the most popular tourism sites.
Chehel-Sotoun, Khajou Bridge, Tavouskhaneh Garden, Shabakeh Garden, Qoushkhaneh Garden and Sa’adatabad Garden are some of the monuments belonging to the Safavid era.  
The edifice was initially constructed as a mansion on the order of Safavid king, Shah Abbas I.
Then, it expanded during the ruler of Shah Abbas II and was declared Chehel-Sotoun.
It includes a mirror hall, two great rooms in northern and southern wings of the mirror hall, terraces and a big pool.
The columns of this edifice have been made from sycamore and pine trees. There are actually 20 columns in the water and their reflection in water creates the 20 others. Therefore, it is called as Chehel Sotoun.

Goharshad Mosque

Goharshad Mosque in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi province, is one of the most beautiful mosques across Iran.
The mosque was built near the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) on the order of Goharshad Beigom, wife of Timurid King Shahrokh.
Qavameddin Shirazi built the mosque that features the Timurid architectural style. It included four terraces and seven courtyards.






Eram Garden

The main building of Eram Garden was constructed by a famous architect during the rule of Qajar King Fathalishah. The monument has been constructed in Qajarid style.
It is a three-story building. The first floor has a cool weather and is constructed as a rest area for the summer. The seven-color tiles have been applied in the building’s columns.
Paintings, tileworks and plasterworks used in the monument are architectural masterpieces of Qajar era.
There is a large pool in front of the monument, which reflects the monument’s columns.
These monuments feature in the itineraries of most foreign and domestic tourists.





Translated by Katayoon Dashti
Taken from Iran Daily’s website


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